The Siege Review

This review is of the TV-14 edited version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

It’s time for a film about the scary possibility of terrorists showing up to cause all kinds of terror on the city. It’s a pretty intense film to be sure although the heroes don’t make it any easier on themselves with all of the constant infighting. They seem to get in each other’s way as much as the villains do. It’s got a pretty solid premise even if I’d say it has some issues that keep it from being really solid. It’ll still keep your attention all the way through either way though.

The movie starts with FBI Agents Anthony and Frank trying to defuse a pretty intense terrorist situation with a bunch of people being stuck in a bus that has bombers in it. Anthony is able to at least get the kids out but everyone else dies. The most worrisome thing here is that there are apparently several other terrorist cells already active in Brooklyn so more of these disasters are going to happen. The tough part is how to pre-emptively stop these attacks before people end up dying. If you go too hard then you’re inevitably going to be hurting innocent people and if you stay reactive then innocent people are going to die in the explosions. So it’s a tough situation.

The film does a good job of showing that there are no easy solutions in a situation like this. You’ve got millions of people within the state and they are looking for less than 20 terrorists. Of course that’s just the number that they know but either way it is a very small percentage which does not work in their favor. People are not going to be happy with any option. Ultimately the president decides to call in the army once all other options fail and that brings General William to the forefront.

This guy is a pretty interesting character and I liked him. The whole film he is begging the president not to call him in because if that happens then they are going to be in a lot of trouble. As he says the army is like a blunt object. They will neutralize the threat but there will be a whole lot of collateral damage and it won’t be quiet or subtle. On the other hand the quiet ways with the FBI and CIA have not yielded any true results yet to the president pulls him in.

Thing is, William is very serious about succeeding even if it means that he does commit a lot of destruction. He treats Brooklyn as he would any warzone in which case he is kidnapping people and also resorting to torture right away. This guy is not holding back at all. As the film goes on he starts to look more and more unhinged but what adds to his character is the fact that he initially didn’t want to be called in. It was a real last resort so he knew that he would lose control. There’s a whole lot you could say about a character like this.

Meanwhile Anthony is doing his best here but it sure is tough. He’s trying to solve this case by staying within the rules but that means he has no time to make any true progress. He also has to deal with the CIA agent Elise who is not making this any easier by keeping a whole lot of secrets. She is working with a guy named Samir who is a big criminal himself but she figures he can lead them to the terrorists. Anthony is not comfortable with this plan at all but compromises because he has no real alternatives.

Anthony takes a lot of risks and is always in the front lines so you can definitely appreciate him here. He’s a really good main character. His partner Frank also gets a big role but tends to lose his cool a little too quickly. There’s the scene where he punches a suspect and has to be calmed down and then he really loses it when the army takes his son. It definitely is rough to be treated just like the rest of the suspects after all his years of faithful service. You can understand why all suspects have to be brought in even ones with government ties. It’s the only logical approach but because the army is committing a lot of human rights violations and treating people badly it’s just shining even more of a light on that.

I didn’t really care for Elise though. Sure as a CIA member she has to keep some secrets but I think she keeps too many of them and this ultimately comes at the expense of the other heroes at times. The whole way she handles Samir was not good. I never liked the trope of basically trying to seduce the enemy, it’s too heavy a price to move forward. Then you’d also have to acknowledge that the one you’re trying to manipulate could just be enjoying the benefits while not actually being manipulated.

Having informants itself is a controversial move to be sure since you’re basically allowing criminals to run free in the hopes of getting others. Perhaps it is necessary sometimes but choosing those moments and not crossing the line is not an easy task at all. I just thought her judgment was really off here the whole time. Meanwhile Samir is never portrayed as a good guy himself. He commits crimes and just keeps on moving. He has a lot of protection so he’s never really had to worry a whole lot and it’s sort of annoying to see him be to brazen the whole time.

While I think the heroes could have handled this all a lot better, it’s also easy to backseat coach after it’s all over. Ultimately the film delivers on having a lot of political intrigue the whole time and the characters debating what the right thing to do is. William goes a bit far by the end but it also leads to a really tense scene at the climax that is one of the highlight moments of the film.

Overall, The Siege is a film you won’t soon forget. They really did a good job of exploring what it could be like to have active terrorist cells in the city with the government trying to deal with it. It would certainly be a terrifying ordeal and deciding how far to go would be a big point of discussion. Especially with online discourse you know there would be a million opinions right away. I don’t see things ever escalating in quite the way they did in this film like calling out the army and shutting down a whole borough but at the same time you never really know.

Overall 6/10

The Elusive Samurai

The Elusive Samurai is a classic action tale set in the samurai era sort of like Kenshin. The setting reminds me of Dynasty Warriors the most to be honest though with fighting over the land. Old settings like this usually aren’t my thing and the main characters are a bit young so it can be hard to picture them going up against the stronger foes but the battles are definitely solid. The series is also certainly not afraid to get super intense that’s for sure. I’ll have a review up for the series once it’s over. We’ll see if the main character can survive on evasive techniques alone or if it’s time for a big timeskip soon!

Overall 5/10

Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS Luke! Explosive Supremacy Legend!!

It was a pretty bold move to change things around so that Luke was the main character this time instead of Yuga but I dare say that it was the correct call. He is absolutely built for this kind of role. It just makes a lot of sense and seeing him win every duel is a blast. The art isn’t great but it does embody how crazy the duels can get. So far I have no complaints and I’ll have a review for this series up once I finish it.

Overall 7/10

Kuromukuro Review

It’s time for an anime that mixes sci-fi with classic samurai characters. This one never seemed to get all that big as I’ve never seen it mentioned at all online but it’s a pretty good show. The action is on point and the story is good although the ending definitely has a massive cliffhanger so some may be wary in jumping in with no season 2 in sight. That said, the ending is really hype for that reason as well. You’ve got a well balanced experience here.

The show starts with Kennosuke fighting off alien invaders in his mecha with the princess but a giant explosion occurs and she seemingly dies/possibly gets whisked away into a portal while he falls back into the planet. 450 years later he is woken up by a girl named Yukina who looks just like the princess that he used to serve and she was able to activate his robot to wake up from its stasis. She is just a normal girl and doesn’t understand what is going on here but neither one has much time to think things through as we find out that the aliens are returning. Their goals are unknown but humanity will need to be ready if they want to survive and that means training up more pilots. Many years have passed so we should have great robots now but will they be enough?

The show’s got a reasonably large cast for a 26 episode show and it covers a whole lot here. While I say that the characters don’t have a chance for downtime initially, they do get that time later on in the series. So we have a lot of fights but also some day to day adventures for some slice of life adventures. The series is very character driven in addition to having the action scenes ready and there is even some romance thrown in here as well with a lot of characters getting involved.

I would say the title is at its best when dealing with the main alien invasion though. One thing that helped to add some more layers here is that there isn’t just one alien race involved. There’s a mysterious man with a mask who claims to be from a different alien race and he actually looks more like an ogre than what the main aliens that Kennosuke claims are the enemies. In fact those look like humans so the main characters have to determine if Kennosuke is actually being honest with them or if he’s hiding something. Naturally any secrets can hurt the morale and unity of the troops so you need to know that sooner than later.

Lets start with the technical elements though. The animation is very sharp for the human scenes. The colors pop out and there is always a lot of movement going on. The robot suits can be a little clunkier but you still get a lot of fun battles which only get more impressive as they start growing wings and using swords. I have yet to see an unimpressive aerial battle with robots and this was no exception. The fights do get good here and I didn’t walk away with any real complaints on the animation. It remains consistent throughout the whole run.

The soundtrack is a little more on the forgettable side. It’s not bad per say but the opening is a little underwhelming and you will have a hard time really remembering any of the tunes in the episodes. I actually looked up the ost while writing this review to check some of them out and some of the tracks are good but they will mostly blend together in the background as opposed to dominating the scene.

Kuromukuro can have a bit of a fanservice issue at times though. Mainly this tends to always occur when Yukina’s classmate Mika shows up. It’s a shame because Mika is easily one of the best characters in the series as a loyal friend always ready to help out and cheer everyone up. So she would have been cool without those scenes and it distracts from her quality moments. There was also an odd massage scene that seemed to be going out of its way to be a bit iffy when they could have just played the scene straight as a good recovery method. Naturally there is no fanservice during the fights so this really just shows up during the downtime so it’s not super frequent but does happen enough to be noticeable.

Now with the aliens running around a common trope is that the government will make the wrong choice and turn on the heroes right? That happens all the time here and for a while you figure maybe this will be the exception but the government looks really awful by the end of the series. It’s unfortunate because they last for quite a while but in the end they basically just decide to self sabotage themselves. The show doesn’t portray this as the ultimate betrayal you would expect it to be and the ending is still rather light as there isn’t much that the teens can do about all of this but most of the adults here lost all my respect by the end. Only certain characters who took a stand and made their choice were exempt. It’s no wonder Earth falls so easily in pretty much every sci-fi story.

Okay back to the story though. So Kennosuke has sworn to protect the princess for his entire life and so he still wants to find her but in the meantime he vows to protect Yukina as well since she looks like the princess. Also, as she woke the robot up, they are now linked as pilot and support for the mech. It can only work at 100% power with two riders and nobody else can connect so in a way their destinies are connected now. Some characters aren’t so thrilled about this but what are you going to do right?

It starts off as more of a monster of the week setup but gradually we meet the main villain cabal and get more of an ongoing story here. For example there is a mysterious lady named Muetta who looks just like the princess but is working for the villains. What’s going on there? Then you have a guy from school who likes Yukina and is super jealous of Kennosuke but is also feeling a huge lack of confidence because Kennosuke is just so much more powerful and talented. This guy can’t hope to beat him in a fight so what else can he do? So starts some of the drama.

In general I would say the romance here isn’t great. There are quite a lot of them going on here like with the classmates even outside of the main romance. The problem is that for a lot of these it’s too soon. Take Kennosuke, he liked the princess and then falls for Yukina who looks just like the highness but is he really liking her then or just seeing the princess in her? The show actually deals with this fully so I’ll give it some props there. The reason why I also give the romance some more credit is it doesn’t go 0-100 and even by the end of the series it’s still ongoing and now years have passed. So they’ve actually had time to develop even if Kennosuke can still be a little iffy about the cosplay pictures.

The romance with Mika and the shy kid Jose was more on the cringe side. I mean that’s his whole thing like when he tried to make an emotional message appear in a video he shot for the class and nobody noticed. I never ended up liking Jose though, he tries really hard but didn’t have a ton of personality by the end. The rest of the slice of life elements could be fun enough though. Perhaps filming a movie dragged on a little bit but playing sports and going on field trips was a nice way to explore the characters more. It was successful enough in that the whole class (The named characters at least) remain memorable even after you have finished the show. You won’t forget any of them.

In terms of balance it would probably be nice if the heroes had more resources though. They seem completely doomed if the villains got serious about fighting them. Keep in mind that it’s Earth against the whole villain empire which is apparently many, many planets strong. The only reason Earth hasn’t been wiped off the planet is because they want some resources and because the villains are too proud to ask for backup. See, there are 5-6 main villains in the cabal and they figure asking for back-up would cause them to lose face…so they just don’t ask. I mean perhaps they would be blown up so it may be a smart move but Earth really gets lucky all the time because they aren’t ready for a huge fight which is made clear every time the villains attack. If Kennosuke wasn’t around they would have gotten eliminated rather quickly.

Now lets jump into the characters. First up we have Kennouke who is a loyal samurai. He doesn’t know much about the modern world so he has the classic fish out of water arc but manages to not be very annoying about it. Considering all the hoops the government has him jump through, he does his best to comply. He’ll still stick with his sense of justice though. The only time he wavers a bit in a bad way is with dealing with Muetta since she looks so much like the princess. He froze up when it counted which was unfortunate but beyond that I wouldn’t say that he made any real mistakes. His fighting abilities are the real deal as well.

He does try to keep Yukina away from danger a lot but aside from the fact that it makes sense in a historical setting since you would usually try to keep women and children away from the battlefield, he also knows that she can’t fight and they’re up against aliens who show no mercy. So it’s totally reasonable on his end but of course the choice is quickly taken out of his hands considering that he can’t even pilot the robot without her. He tries to fight one while on foot but that doesn’t go very well. I tend to like characters that are very honorable and so Kennosuke made for a good lead.

Meanwhile Yukina is a solid heroine. At first the whole thing is a little too much for her and so naturally she wants out but once she sees that this is really happening then she gets on board. Yukina does her best to help out, even fighting when necessary. She may not stand out as much as some of the other characters but her bravery can keep pace with them and I don’t really have any negatives for her. I was also glad that she flat out rejected Ryoto as opposed to keeping him guessing.

Ryoto is the guy who likes Yukina but you know that he’s doomed from the start because he’s not the main guy. Apparently he also used to lightly bully/tease her back in the day based on some of the character dialogue although it was all prior to the series starting. This guy tries his best to get her to notice him but ultimately she just says that’s not going to happen and by the end of the series he has slowly started to accept this. He didn’t have a whole lot of purpose in the series but at least he was never selfish about the whole thing. He didn’t try to sabotage the heroes or do anything petty. He was upset with Kennosuke the whole time of course but that was about it.

Jundai is another one of the classmates who gets a fairly big role. He likes filming everything which is his big gimmick. Unfortunately there isn’t a whole lot to him beyond that. He also tries filming Mika a bit when she’s not aware of it which quickly dropped him all the way down. That’s usually not part of his character but one time is all it takes. I already talked about Mika being a fun character so not much more to say about that. She never doubted Yukina or Kennosuke no matter what others said and she helped him get used to modern day life without making a big deal of it all.

Marina is the school counselor but she’s woefully unprepared for virtually every situation in the series. She really wants to be helpful but just has a super tough time with it because she’s too scared to actually talk with people straight on. I wouldn’t say she ever got to be a very great character for me personally. If she was more confident that would have gone a long way.

Then we have Sophie who is a prodigy and is very good at using her mecha even though she is still a student and not yet a professional. She has actual practice with the sword and this translates into her piloting skills. She seems to like Kennosuke initially but gradually gets out of the race as the series goes on. She usually keeps a calm head and is always a reliable ally to have. Since most of the supporting characters didn’t end up being too helpful in the actual fights, it was good to have someone who could really fight here.

Hiromi is a character who could have easily ended up not being very good but the show handled her well. She is Yukina’s mother and also one of the chief scientists. That means she is often put in a position where she has to side with the government and can’t trust Kennosuke all that much. She is also always very busy so Yukina feels like she is neglectful. In some shows this may be the case but this time I actually thought she did a good job of always being there for Yukina. Later on when she is forced to really have to choose between the government and her daughter, she wisely picks Yukina. That was where she solidified herself as one of the better characters here. There comes a time in every character’s life when they have to make a choice and you always want to make sure you make the right one.

Tom and Liu are two of the professionals who lead the defense force. They are quickly rendered moot once Kennosuke shows up but to their defense they are still a tough combination and hold their own against the villains. Tom is the hot heads of the group while Liu tries to hold him back and is definitely the calm member. They make for a good duo but you do feel like their role in the show isn’t huge either way. You could probably cut them out and not much would change.

Takehito is another character who doesn’t appear all that much. He’s Yukina’s father and seemingly died a long time ago in the woods but it’s hard to tell if the aliens got him or something else. As the show goes on we do learn what really happened to him but I can tell you that it’s a little underwhelming. Ultimately I didn’t think his plot ended up being all that engaging. It’s mainly used for world building which is great of course but it tends to be more on the dry side so you’re always waiting to see the main characters again.

The same is true of Zell to a large extent. He’s the mysterious alien from a third party faction and at least he has the whole intrigue on his side. Is he friend or foe? You have to decide how much you actually trust him as the series goes on. Sure, he did end up saving the heroes once or twice but sometimes that’s just a tactic to try and get into their good graces so you can’t afford to let your guard down. In the end i thought he was okay. A bit soft spoken for my tastes though and he tends to fade into the background instead of stealing the scenes that he’s in.

Then we have Sabastian who is Sophie’s butler and you might expect him to have a small role but he ends up doing quite a lot by the end. He can fight and knows how to pilot a robot. He takes his job of protecting Sophie very seriously and you end up being impressed by the commitment that he puts into this. Most butlers would have absolutely faltered before he did. Meanwhile you have Koharu as a nice little character. She’s Yukina’s sister so she’s too young to do much here but helps make Kennosuke feel at home and is generally a nice person.

Then you have Arthur who is the big government general but he looks pretty bad. Mainly my issue with him is the fact that Kennosuke helps out so much and the guy still won’t trust him at all. More specifically, it’s fine if he doesn’t trust him so long as he doesn’t do anything about it, but he handcuffs, arrests, zaps, and ultimately keeps betraying Kennosuke at every turn. This guy is actively working against his planet’s own defenses after a while. A key moment in this is when he sends out the robot army against Kennosuke.

Keep in mind that the planet only has maybe 3-4 active robot fighters at any given time and so each one Kennosuke is forced to damage is just leaving the planet in further ruins. Arthur always just appears as very shortsighted and he just looks awful at the end of the series. The characters probably should have just did a full revolt by the end of it all. With him as the leader they aren’t going far.

Now as for the villains, the most important one is probably Muetta. After all there’s the mystery of her looking like the princess which is a big deal. She’s a fun fighter and can fight in close quarters as well as in her mech. She has some amnesia so she doesn’t remember a whole lot…makes it easy to theorize some things. She added a fun bit of mystery to the series so it was definitely fun to have her around.

Lefil is the leader of the villain cabal but unfortunatley he doesn’t live up to the hype. 90% of his screen time is sitting upon his massive thrown and talking tough but when it comes time to put his money where his mouth is, the guy falls short. He just isn’t able to keep up. Sure he is technically a good fighter but the show really needed to depict him doing a little more to justify his position at the top of the foodchain.

Meanwhile Mirasa gets a big role because of how jealous she is of Muetta. Mirasa wants to be known as the top villain and so she goes around lying and trying to take Muetta down. After a while keeping up the lie of Muetta having died is rather difficult since Muetta is still running around. Mirasa really digs her own grave here and while it’s always fun to have villains in-fighting and creating their own factions, I was rooting for anyone to take her down. Mirasa just felt very petty.

The rest of the villains mostly don’t have big character arcs or anything like that. Imusa and Hedo mostly just blend in with the others but the way Hedo goes out was almost funny so he loses extra points there. Finishing yourself off is almost never the right way to move up the ranks. Fusunani at least had the moment of busting out of jail and taking a lot of names to bump him up the list. That was a very impressive sequence. Finally Yoruba had a flying mecha which was really impressive since that is exactly the kind of suit you want to have to fight the more impressive opponents.

Yeah there were quite a few characters here and it helps to get the feeling across that this is a true war. It’s an alien invasion that the main characters are fighting off and so of course you should have a number of different villains to go up against. Having just one or two just wouldn’t feel right. I would definitely be hyped for a sequel to this someday though. How I see it, they are going to have to introduce a bunch of new characters and weapons for the heroes to stand any chance here.

Without going into details, there is quite the large time skip at the end and considering that Kennosuke was heavily outnumbered I’d assume that logically he’s dead by the enemy’s hands. If we get a sequel I’m sure he will be alive so best bet is they captured him but if somehow he’s winning I won’t be able to buy that. He has trouble just fighting a 2 vs 1 battle, how can he handle hundreds of these guys? The ending doesn’t paint a very hopeful picture for his odds even with Yukina getting ready. At least she can fight pretty well now too but there’s a big gap between fighting very well and conquering historic odds.

Overall, You should have a good time with Kuromukuro. I’d consider it to be a fairly strong Sci-Fi adventure. It gives you a lot of time to really get to know the characters which is something that many shows don’t have time for. The battles are always a lot of fun but it’s also nice to be able to just hang out with the characters. There is plenty of time for this in titles like Naruto and Bleach which is part of why they’re so huge but titles under 30 episodes usually don’t have as much time for it. There’s a good balance here and that’s why I’d say it’s a fundamentally sound show all around. I’d recommend checking it out even if the government will annoy you the whole time.

Overall 7/10

Kill Bill: Volume 1 Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Kill Bill is definitely a movie that is absolutely legendary for being super violent and one of the ultimate revenge thrillers. When you hear the name you know that you’re in for something intense. It definitely doesn’t disappoint in there. I feel like there is a whole lot of things to like here and interesting ideas but that’s why it’s a shame that it had to be so violent. All of the elements are in here to make this a top tier title but it just doesn’t happen.

The movie starts with the Bride getting beaten down badly by Bill and his crew. She’s then shot and left for dead but ends up surviving. Bill’ right hand woman says they should finish her off but he says it would make them look weak so she’s allowed to live. Once the Bride is healed up she vanishes for a bit and then returns to bump them all off one at a time. She has a list and she’s checking it twice but will she be able to defeat the world’s strongest assassins?

We start things off really quickly in the present as the main heroine takes out Vernita. It was a really powerful way to kick things off because you don’t have much context at this point and just have her fighting this other professional while also trying to appear normal in front of Vernita’s kid. It made for a good dynamic and ultimately we already see why the Bride is the heroine here as she actually gives Vernita a chance to not die in front of her child but the villain doesn’t take her up on this. There will be no stopping the revenge tour this time. Bride intends to get everyone and it’s easy to see why considering the opening.

This fight was actually really good. There’s a lot of back and forth and it’s focused on really good choreography instead of trying to be super shocking. I liked the tone of the fight as well and how odd it felt the whole time with things going from 0 to 100 real fast. Unfortunately the movie peaked early here and was never quite able to match this.

See, we destroy all of the momentum right after this by going to the hospital and seeing the Bride’s recovery. The film decides to go extra dark as we learn she was taken advantage of numerous times while she was under and you have to ask yourself what this possibly adds to the story. If your answer was 0 then you are almost spot on except it should be a negative number since it hurts the story. It also makes one character look even worse in the sequel although I’ll get to that in the volume 2 review.

Sure it gives us a chance to see the Bride murder more people are violently as possible and you know they deserve it but that’s why the cycle of violence doesn’t help anybody. The more evil you make a villain the more you’re going to have the hero enact revenge in increasingly brutal fashion. It’s a cycle that just doesn’t end as a result and a film doesn’t need that. Just introduce us to the villains and lets get some good fights in.

Throughout the movie it’s a common theme that everyone has to die as violently and disturbingly as possible. Usually the fights with the top tiers tend to be not quite as violent since the battles are able to go all the way until the end and maybe the killing blow gets violent but that’s about it. It’s the minions and random civilians you have to watch out for as the heroes and villains really get to style on those fighters.

The choreography can be really good at times when it’s not being overshadowed by the violence though. I like that each character has a codename and it’s filmed like a big anime showdown at times. There is a wide range of music here as well so a lot of effort was put into the film. On a purely technical level the movie definitely holds its own really well and makes for a very solid experience there. It’s just everything in the middle that destroys these elements.

Take O-Ren’s backstory for example which is where the film has a whole lot of fun being super violent. It suddenly turns into an animated segment since you can get away with more there and they’re showing off the animation but you can’t help but feel again that they could have easily told the story without getting into the gory details. Just keep it moving and get us to the present for some big fights.

The Bride is a solid heroine at least. You are definitely rooting for her to win given everything that she’s gone through and she is a very efficient hunter. She’s not interested in hearing any excuses from her victims nor will she spare them in the end. She’s hear to murder every member and wants Bill to know that she’s coming. In this film you don’t yet know exactly why they went after her but you know that she needs her revenge and even the villains pretty much admit that it’s fair for her to try and get it. There is never any doubt on who the villains are here. Yeah Bride may not follow the superhero code, but she’s not a superhero. She’s just someone looking to get revenge.

Bride hasn’t quite lost her humanity yet either as seen when she tries to convince Vernita not to die in front of her kid. Bride does have some standards but the villains do not and considering how outnumbered she is, it’s not like she can afford to hold back much. Bill doesn’t actually appear much here but definitely has a presence. You know that he’s someone not to be messed with and presumably he can fight since he has a big sword. He may end up regretting sparing Bride considering all the damage she’s accomplished but you do get why he wouldn’t want to be known for finishing someone off while they’re asleep.

Vernita is an interesting villain and part of why the fight with Bride was so good is that they feel a bit like parallels. Vernita is out of the assassin game now and started a family. She had a happy ending to her character arc at least up to this point but in the end she has to fight a dark mirror of herself. I was glad that Bride didn’t accept any of her excuses either since the past actions aren’t something so easily waved away. Vernita put up a fight and at the end of the day that was the best she could do.

Then you have Gogo who isn’t one of the main villains on Bride’s list for revenge but she actually gets her own big boss fight and is definitely someone that can’t be overlooked. Basically she’s a psycho who loves her job. She may not be as powerful as the main villains but her weapon is fairly unique so it’s a bit harder to dodge. She gives Bride some trouble as a result but I wouldn’t say a whole lot. She makes for an imposing villain though.

Then you have O-Ren who is an excellent swordfighter and has a really good fight with Bride. In terms of overall ability I dare say that she was probably the most powerful in the whole series counting volume 2. The only way to beat her was with pure skill all the way through. O-Ren built up an empire and had a huge group through her own merits since that group wasn’t going to take a woman seriously as leader otherwise. Ultimately she just shouldn’t have messed with Bride.

The film also has a great cliffhanger ending to lead into the sequel. The line helps build up a lot of anticipation for the sequel and also makes you think about the events that could lead up to this twist. It’s definitely the way to do it and of course when you know a sequel is coming up then you definitely want to end with a big cliffhanger. Don’t do anything half heartedly just go all the way with it.

Overall, Kill Bill is one of those films that would be absolutely great if it just had way more restraint. Of course it’s always tempting to make a big revenge film as over the top violent and dark as possible so you really root for the hero to defeat those evil villains but it also means you will be cringing a whole lot constantly during the film as violent things just keep on happening. The film is certainly creative with the visuals for some of these moments which means it will be more difficult to forget them as well. There are countless tales of titles with tons of potential that was wiped away by excessive content and this is just another one to add to the list. We’ll see if part 2 is able to change that.

Overall 1/10

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Review

All right it’s finally time to dive into the She Hulk show. I saw this one a while back so the review’s been on the backburner for a while but hey it’s time for the hype. She Hulk is a character that I haven’t actually read a ton of comics for. I’m well aware of her just because she is a big character but this is really the first time seeing her on the main stage for a while. This show is going for a full comedy approach as opposed to more of an action/comedy mix. It can land some of the comedy elements at times but ultimately I would have to say that this is the weakest of the Disney+ shows that I’ve seen and a lot of that is ultimately going to come down to She Hulk herself who makes the villains’ job very easy in the show.

We kick things off with Jennifer grilling Hulk about Captain America and generally being annoying so they both get distracted from the road and a UFO smashes them. Their blood ends up mixing and so Jennifer gains the abilities of the Hulk. She is now the She Hulk and quickly wants to go back and resume her legal career. Hulk wants to train her but she has no time for that and runs off. After defeating Titania her legal career seems to be at an end but fortunately there is one company still willing to hire her as an attorney. They are even building up a whole super hero division. She Hulk accepts of course as this is her last shot but it means that she will have to be representing the Abomination! Additionally there are a group of Keyboard warriors led by HulkKing who want to drag her down into disgrace. Can she stop them?

The series is only 9 episodes long so it goes by really quickly. I thought the first episode was really solid and I liked the start of the last episode a lot but it does tend to fumble a lot midway through the show which prevents it from being higher. Lets tackle this one aspect at a time though. First up I’d say is the comedy for the show which will be hit or miss depending on how much you enjoy the style here. She Hulk breaks the 4th wall a lot which is absolutely her gimmick and those scenes work well enough.

It’s been a while since I watched a show where the character talks to the audience. When the show is trying to be funny within the the 4 walls is when it’s not quite as solid. She jokes around with all of the characters a lot but more often than not they tend to just look concerned because if she is their attorney then all hope might be lost. Crashing the wedding as She Hulk felt petty even if it was to upstage the bully and she hits up the bar quite a few times to drown her sorrows.

At the end of the day She Hulk isn’t one of the most mature heroes and this is how she really gives the villains ammo. So of course one of the big things the keyboard warriors are trying to do is to discredit She Hulk. Well, she has one unfortunate habit that is easy to exploit which is that she’s a huge flirt like James Bond and will have affairs really quick. You can probably imagine what the villains use to get some dirt on her and it’s just a shame that it was so easy. Now on one hand it’s fairly unique to see this happening to a girl as it’s usually a character flaw for a lot of male characters.

Captain Kirk, James Bond, etc, these are the characters you expect to easily get seduced and then open themselves up for blackmail after that. I can’t think of a time I’ve seen this with a main heroine so it’s different…but it doesn’t help her character. It’s a massive shot against her character to be honest as you also can’t picture any relationship working out now because she moves on way too fast. She also has their overconfidence which leads her astray at times.

Hulk tries to help her on several occasions and each time she just waves him off or yells at him with some speeches. Usually they are all incorrect as well like saying that she’s had it harder than the Hulk or that she can control her temper better than him. Both things are demonstrated to be false within the show itself. I would actually say this isn’t bad writing though but you’re actually meant to realize that she is too overconfident at the moment. At least that’s how I interpret it because often times the show will depict how she is a bit out of her depth here.

I like the idea of a superhero show with a lot of court scenes but unfortunately they are few and far between here. I wanted some really extended court scenes with fun back and forth but the only time we really get that is when Daredevil shows up and easily dominates her in the case. I wouldn’t expect anyone to beat him of course but it wasn’t her best moment to be sure. She Hulk is more of a fun character than one that you think is actually a really good attorney. Perhaps the show should just drop the sub title and focus on making this more of a fun action show where she is a hero for hire or something. We’re getting close to that anyway.

Then of course I did like the climax a lot as everything gets really crazy. You have every hero and villain showing up with a bunch of gamma powered fighters ready to mix it up. I thought that the fights were going to be great but unfortunately we don’t get that. What we do get instead is pretty interesting. You probably know a lot about the 4th wall breaking since it was trending everywhere but if not I won’t go into details. It was a cool thing that you could probably only do in a show like this or Deadpool and it works well. As long as you accept it as a fun gag it’s not like it breaks the universe itself because it’s likely also not an ability that she can use at will. Part of me did miss the actual climax that we missed out on though. That actually was going to be a whole lot of fun but now we’ll never really know.

As for the villains here, Titania probably has the most screen time. Unfortunately her power level isn’t remotely close to She Hulk’s so she’s more of a joke here. She almost literally goes down in a single hit initially and it never gets any better for her after that. I was glad when she showed up for the big wedding but unfortunately the fight was super lackluster. You almost forget that you have two fighters with super strength going at it because they fight like humans. Titania deserved a little more than that.

Leap-Frog shows up though and that was cool. We don’t really get to see him fight all that much but I thought that the gags really worked. If you know anything about the character at all then you’ll appreciate the references and how much the show is just going along with this. It was great to see him without a doubt. As for HulkKing, well I liked him on the message boards but that’s about it. His whole group is meant to be a bit of a joke the whole time or at least I’m 99% sure you aren’t meant to take them seriously.

I liked seeing them post online as a sort of poverty version of Reddit though. Having a hero deal with social media could actually be a lot of fun as a whole main focus because there’s a lot to unpack there. It’s only a minor part of this show but I did enjoy those moments. Honestly I would have liked She Hulk to have created a burner account to start defending herself on there and we get a bunch of flame wars. Ah well, maybe another time.

For the most part the episodes tend to have scenes after the credits but it’s a real coin flip as to whether it’ll be something really cool like a reference to the future or more of a gag that ends up becoming rather infamous later on. One dancing scene in particular will probably make you roll your eyes. Any scene with her parents is fun though. There’s at least one after credits scene with her father that was fun. I like how nonchalant they take the whole thing because it makes sense. At this point superpowers are almost normal within the verse if you think about it so why wouldn’t people be more natural at this point right? You just take it in stride and having her parents be so supportive was great.

Hulk looks pretty good here. Even when She Hulk is being rather meant to him, he’s always ready to help. He’s even okay with her representing Abomination even though the way she asked was more like informing him. I’m telling you she tries to be rude almost every chance she gets but Hulk is always willing to take the high road. He also shows up in the climax to help out immediately even though he was light years away. He’s just a great hero as always and has really done well to master his strength and not lose control anymore.

A big guest star that got a lot of hype before the show even came out was Daredevil of course. He gets a lot of good moments here and in particular his introduction was amazing. The theme music that played was really sharp. I have to assume this is from the Daredevil show but the tune is so good that this is one scene I actually replayed quite a few times. He shows off great aerobatics in dodging She Hulk’s attacks and the car she throws. He almost fights a bit like Spider-Man here and shows off how athletic he is.

I think any Daredevil fan should be pleased with how he’s portrayed. He’s excellent in the court room and can hold his own in a fight. Of course She Hulk can beat him at any time she pleases since he’s weak against sound and one clap would take him out but it’s still nice to see him hanging in there. He even makes sure not to attack her at any point in the fight since he knows that she is a fellow hero. So all of that was a lot of fun and you don’t expect great music for live action shows most of the time so it was nice to see this. Of course the Marvel shows have all had really good soundtracks so far so in that sense this wasn’t as surprising.

I really could have done without the romance though. This was rushed even by the usual rushed romance standards. It’s like they met up and got together right away. By this time in the show She Hulk has already liked several characters and of course the same is true for Daredevil in his series. So this is really just a rebound fling for no real reason. Romance is really one of the weak points of the series because none of it ever even comes close to being believable. It just doesn’t work. Was still nice to see Daredevil show up and get some fights though.

She Hulk has another ally in Nikki for when she needs emotional support though. Nikki is a good friend who is always loyal and has She Hulk’s back. She lets her know when things are getting dangerous online even when others tell her not too. So Nikki is someone that’s super dependable and she gets a good role here. There’s another guy who wants to help out in the group but he’s not as smart so he doesn’t get as much to do. At least he has one infiltration mission where he gets to try and help the cause though.

Wong also has some cameo appearances but doesn’t do a whole lot here. I like his overall disdain for court proceedings though. He has magic so he figures he can do whatever he wants and…well he’s not really wrong. As the Sorcerer Supreme he can do a whole lot and it’s hard to ever capture him since he can warp around. I liked how his plot with the Abomination ended up concluding as well.

Meanwhile the Abomination is a bit different than you might expect. He’s really mellowed out a whole lot to the point where he is a pacifist and he has a whole group therapy business going. It’s definitely a big change from how he used to be so unfortunately you shouldn’t expect any big fights out of him as a result but it’s an interesting take. Some of the scenes with him and the therapy sessions drag on for wayyyyyyy too long but as a concept it isn’t bad. The final episode also really makes this plot worth it with how things play out.

While the special effects may have gotten a lot of shade, I thought they worked well. She Hulk looks great in the green form to the point where I would have been cool with her staying in that form 24/7 for the show. The GTA cutscene comparisons were fun but I don’t think that’s even a bad thing per say. Yes it is surreal to see She Hulk walking around like CGI into a live action film but it works and the character model is on point. This is how I would picture She Hulk to look for example.

Now with the fight scenes being underwhelming that’s just a choreography issue. None of the fights tend to have any real damage or feeling behind them. Of course the show mainly has 0 stakes as a comedy so you’re not expecting anything too serious but more hand to hand or damage effects would be good. The best fight was easily between She Hulk and Daredevil and that’s extremely short. The rest of the fights are just missing their impact for the most part.

What the show needed was more of a focus on the ongoing plot or a little more danger. The middle episodes just feel like you could almost cut them and not much would change. It was nice seeing a random case in the middle because you should have that as an attorney series. Defending the immortal guy who kept offing himself to avoid taxes and start a new life was interesting. We needed more cases like that and less romance and wedding stuff. The counseling session also didn’t need to pretty much be a whole episode.

Now if you do want to focus on being a full comedy show then you just need to be funnier. For me a good gauge of how funny something is during the slice of life scenes is whether I would really be able to watch the show on my own and have a good time. She Hulk was really on the fence for that a whole lot of the time. It’s just never as interesting as the other Marvel shows and as a main character Jennifer lags behind the others. She’s great as She Hulk but the human alter ego can’t hold her own stories quite as much.

Maybe it’s in part because the humor can be more based around the romances or awkward moments which doesn’t generate as much of a laugh as things being wacky or fast paced dialogue. Regardless, the action at the beginning and ending isn’t enough to really throw this into the positive side of the fence. I ended up feeling like it’s at about the middle for me. I wouldn’t be tempted to watch it again and there is very little replay value. The episodes are interconnected enough where they aren’t quite stand alone but not connected enough to keep you engaged on the wider story. Of course whether you like it or not will completely depend on how funny you find the show to be.

Like there are so many aspects of being a superhero attorney that you can explore. The whole supers division is a great concept as well but Jennifer is more interested in how more people will date her now that she has a super form than in thinking about the other repercussions more. Like embracing the She Hulk name before people can use it as an insult or how daily life is just so much different now that she has become a celebrity overnight. Exploring all of this could be a show in its own. I always just go back to the first episode which ended perfectly though. She takes out Titania and embraces her role as She Hulk. Marvel’s always been good about removing the secret identity from the equation immediately. Having a really confident She Hulk just take the stage and start winning cases would have been great and we didn’t need to go away from that path to greatness.

Overall, She Hulk took some gambles and that’s good for a show to do. You do want to try new things even if they don’t work but in this case making She Hulk more of a traditionally fun main character may have worked better. I’d say you can drop the constant affairs angle in the next season just like how James Bond has almost completely dropped that in the new movies. Keep in the 4th wall breaking but lets get in some real villains next time or extended cases. You could easily make this more like Detective Conan or Sherlock Holmes where you have a good case that lasts every 2-3 episodes where she has to gather the clues and prove someone’s innocence/guilt. I tend to love court scenes in movies and shows so building a whole show around that would not just be a good idea but a great one. It would immediately raise the show up to the next level.

Overall 5/10

Tiger & Bunny 2 Review

It’s time for the return of Tiger & Bunny. This sequel gets us some new heroes to change the dynamic a bit and we get fights which are always good but ultimately don’t make a ton of progress in the grand scheme of things. At this point it may be fair to say that the series doesn’t intend on actually taking the villain organization down for the count and instead they are planned to be here for the long haul as a constant obstacle for the heroes. Season 2 still doesn’t match the full potential that it could have had as a very slow start holds up its progress but the climax was very solid. Ultimately I would still lean on season 1 being the better season even though this one had the better visuals.

The series starts off with mainly exploring each of the new team dynamics. See, the government in charge of the heroes, in all of their wisdom has decided that heroes shouldn’t be solo anymore. They should all be a part of the buddy system and so everyone is divided up into pairs. Of course Tiger & Bunny are already a team so there is no change for them. In a way it’s a bit embarrassing that they aren’t leading the ranks which causes some disputes but at this point it’s nothing too serious. Tiger & Bunny get along way better than they did in season 1 and I like that their development really stuck. Now when they fight it’s all in good fun and nobody takes anything too personally.

So the first half of the reason really has each team get an episode as they try to work with each other. Unfortunately most of those episodes are on the weaker side and do little to make the characters more likable. One of my main issues with the series has always been that the cast isn’t quite as likable as you would expect. A lot of them are okay and so you can get through the show easily enough but you don’t have many standout characters. Some are better than they used to be like Fire Emblem while others have sharply fallen like Origami Cyclone so it doesn’t feel like a whole lot has changed. There are two new characters, He Is Thomas (I’m just going to be calling him Thomas for the rest of the review) and Mr. Black. Both are characters that are very interesting and had a lot of potential but I didn’t feel like they ever lived up to that.

I’ll break down each of the team up episodes a bit while going over the characters. The first one is about Tiger & Bunny so there’s not too much that needs to be said there. Their characters have already been explored a lot. As always I tend to prefer Bunny as he’s more impulsive and ready to just jump into action. Tiger has the stronger moral compass as he’s been a hero for much longer and wants to do the right thing no matter what. They make for a good team even if Bunny has to hold Tiger up a bit more now that Tiger’s powers are running out sooner. With all that said…it’s still crazy that normal bank robbers can actually give the entire hero cast a run for their money though.

At this point it’s a bit of a running gag but it still just feels a little crazy. These heroes may not all have the strongest of abilities but it should be a simple matter to take these crooks down. It always feels like the show is stalling for time to introduce the heroes but there have to be better ways of doing this than by nerfing them. It’s just not going to be worth it to hurt the hero reputations like this. I suppose it does make things even more believable when Fugan and Mugan are taking heroes down left and right though. Usually each episode ends with them beating up a bunch of other heroes in the background as they get closer to the main series. I do think that this is a compelling plot point as you are waiting for them to appear the whole time. The flash forward at the beginning was also a really good way to set things up even if it takes forever to get back there.

We start to learn more about Mr. Black in the next episode. Basically he’s a guy from a small town who really wants to be a really big hero and is determined to do this as fast as possible. The whole being in a team thing is a huge issue for him because now he has to share the spotlight and he has to team up with Thomas, the most anti social member of the group. Black’s power is also more on the defensive side as he can create barriers but that’s about it. Later on he starts to learn how to weaponize them which is good since you should always be able to convert barriers.

Black gets a lot of screen time but you always feel like his development doesn’t get to the end you were expecting. He does become more of a team player gradually but it takes a whole long while to get there and you don’t feel like he will end up being one of the top heroes anytime soon. He almost starts to come to terms with being more of a support type fighter. He’s not always quick on the uptake and he can try too hard. I just thought Black’s potential was greater than the actual execution but at the same time he is still one of my favorite heroes by default so there’s that.

As for Thomas, he ended up being a little more interesting and rising to the top. Basically he prefers to be a lone hero because he feels like he really can’t trust anyone. We get an origin story which gives us some added context into why that is. He definitely has good reasons for not wanting to team up with anyone and then in the present he is given even more reasons to support this. His telekinetic powers are also very handy even if they have a very hard limit compared to most. He basically can’t lift more than what he can lift normally which does limit just how much he can use these powers. Still, he knows how to fight in hand to hand and has a lot of determination. The show is going for a nice parallel with how Bunny used to be and that works really well.

After that we get to see how Blue Rose and Golden Ryan work as a team. Unfortunately their teamwork isn’t great as you would expect. They tend to disagree about the catchphrases and then Ryan is super jealous of Blue Rose meeting up with Tiger. Now she certainly could have told him why she was meeting with him one on one to avoid the misunderstandings but personally I don’t think that she needed to. Ultimately it’s her private business and you don’t have to tell your work partner everything. Ryan jumps to all the worst conclusions the whole time. At least Bunny took Tiger’s side the whole time and wasn’t doubting him. Sure he may have weakened a bit over time but at the end of the day I do believe Bunny was going to trust Tiger no matter what and it shows how they have been teammates much longer.

Ryan does get a big role in this season as his backstory actually gets expanded on here. The whole climax ends up being a lot more personal for him than you may have expected initially. He easily has one of the most powerful abilities in the series so I would like to see him take more of a center stage role. He is just rarely put in a position where he can succeed though which is unfortunate. He does bounce back from the initial episode though and ultimately looks good. He’s still one of the better heroes.

Blue Rose is also good here as she is slowly but surely starting to get over Tiger. A part of her may not move on for a while but I think she is starting to see that he’s just never going to notice her at this point. She gets a solid role in helping out throughout the series and her ice comes in handy. Her tag team battle with Ryan was definitely good as they both got to use their special talents to slow the villain down. Ultimately you always know that they’re doomed but the attempt is what counts.

Then you have Rock Bison and Origami Cyclone in one of the worst episodes to set up the team. Basically Cyclone is super sensitive about everything so if you get his name wrong then he’s going to sulk a lot. A big issue with Cyclone is that he refuses to actually directly confront Bison about this and instead moves behind his back and acts passive aggressively. Look if you’re upset about the mix-up on the name then just say so. It’s not like Rock Bison is a bully or something. He would absolutely apologize right away and not make the same mistake again. In fact Bison does try to apologize right away and Cyclone just won’t accept it. It makes him look really bad to the point where I ended up putting 100% of the blame on Cyclone. You have to be able to take a joke and keep it moving instead of just being down and out the whole time. That’s not the right way to handle any kind of situation.

As for Bison, I would say he looks a lot better here than in season 1. He mostly just felt like a joke in the first season as he was the power hitter but got absolutely clobbered in every possible fight that he was in. At least here he gets some respect and is trying to even change his image a bit. I think it’ll be some time before I can really say that he’s risen up enough to where I could call him likable, but he’s trying to be better and that’s what counts.

Then we have Sky High and Fire Emblem’s combo episode but this one makes Fire Emblem look bad for the most part. Here’s the issue…he thinks that Sky High is too perfect. He wants the guy to have some flaws so they can talk as equals and know that they have each other’s trust. My common argument to that would be that maybe he doesn’t have any real flaws. Nobody’s perfect of course but it’s not a given that you have to have a big enough flaw that it would ever show up in daily life right? Sky High basically has a perfect life going on for him and he’s very methodical about it. There’s just nothing wrong with it and of course he overhears Fire Emblem gossiping about this to the main heroes and that starts another misunderstanding.

There just didn’t need to be any issues between the two of them. They are the number 1 ranked hero team in the city and I think it would have made a whole lot of sense to have just kept it that way by explaining in the episode that they both get along really well because they just have a good system. That’s all you really need. In this season Fire Emblem is no longer attacking Rock Bison in every scene so he’s automatically better even if the episode wasn’t a great look for him. Sky High is a solid hero as always although I wish he would contribute more in the fights considering that he’s known as the #1 hero. I know it’s popularity based and not by strength but still.

Finally we’re up to the last team which is Dragon Kid and the new heroine Magical Cat. Dragon Kid is eager to leave a good impression as her first time being a mentor and so she tends to be a little overbearing in how she looks after Magical Cat. Cat doesn’t really mind but the issue is that her mother does. Cat’s mother believes that Dragon Kid is doing this on purpose to steal the spotlight and so she encourages Magical Cat to defy orders and do whatever is needed in order to rise up. This is a plot that will actually last for the rest of the series. Mainly my issue with Cat is that she lets herself be ordered around and manipulated like this.

If she would just stick up for Dragon Kid more or make a stand then things wouldn’t escalate so much. It is tough defying your parent like this but Cat knows deep down that Dragon Kid isn’t doing anything super wrong and should have just talked it out with her. For sure there are times when Dragon Kid won’t listen at all which is annoying but for the most part there is usually a chance for some dialogue. Kid ultimately gets better by the end as well so it was mainly a momentary setback and then she starts to be a quality character again. Of course it would help if Cat’s power was more offensive though. It’s totally reasonable not to want her in the front lines when her water powers are so weak and emotionally fueled. If Cat is having a bad day then her powers get even weaker.

Lunatic is still around but unfortunately the show really dropped the ball with him. He used to be such a grand figure in the series but he starts off as being semi retired here and only briefly goes back into the spotlight. The show sort of glossed over the actual retiring part which was unfortunate. I would have liked more of an extended scene on why he chose to retire as opposed to picking up the context pieces ourselves. Then when he gets back out there it’s just way too brief. Lunatic as a character is just fascinating and when the heroes are constantly on the ropes you know that he’s someone else for the villains to fear.

In fact you could say that the heroes can almost start to understand him more when the city turns against the NEXT and they have to choose to continue as vigilantes like Lunatic or retire. It changes the perspective a little bit even if there’s still no way to get around the murders. Lunatic has to be brought in but I wanted more of a fight around ideals instead of the rushed subplot we got here.

After that we start to get into the main plot with Fugan and Mugan showing up to cause chaos. They work for Ouroboros and are commanded by Nicolai. They’re pretty powerful as one of them can absorb attacks and the other one can teleport. It takes a painfully long amount of time for the heroes to figure out how their powers work when at least the teleportation one should have been obvious for a while there. What works about these villains is even after you figure out how the powers work, it can be hard to stop them. Basically you have a tag team that can stop any attack easily with the absorption and then counter quicker than the eye can see due to the teleport. Taking them on individually is your best bet and I recommend taking down the teleporter first.

Unfortunately teamwork isn’t often the heroes’ best trait and Bunny was taken down earlier by a bomber so he wasn’t able to contribute much here until the end. (That bomber episode was a really good oneshot episode though. We got to see Tiger really get upset and go solo as a rogue for a little bit there. I think that could have even worked as a multi part episode) So Mugan and Fugan really start to dominate the heroes rather easily but it makes for a lot of good fights. You may feel like the heroes should do better but then you remember how much trouble they had against normal bank robbers and it all starts to make sense.

The animation for the show has never been my favorite and I would still consider it below average compared to most but they do their best for the fight scenes. The show certainly looks its best during these moments as the sharp colors stand out and you really get to see the super speed of Bunny and Tiger in motion. Sometimes it can be a bit exaggerated because if they actually moved that fast then things would play out very differently in many circumstances. So try to ignore the power level issues as best you can because this show has a lot of them.

Despite the powers I wouldn’t say that I liked either villain much though. Mugan and Fugan were just a little too needy the whole time. One of them was also super unintelligent for some reason and they’re always goofing off until it’s way too late. I can’t say that their boss Nicolai was much better either. He gives the orders and got attached by the end but that’s really about it for him.

The other boss in Sigourney was more interesting but made a whole lot of slip ups. She didn’t handle things as well as she could have. Towards the end she starts getting “Just as planned” moments but they all fall hollow when you remember she’s on plan D by this point. Her ability isn’t the most handy to have because while she can possess people, it leaves her real body completely defenseless. It’s good when hiding in the shadows but won’t help a whole lot in a straight fight.

For some more supporting characters we do have Kaede who gets to show up a bit. Her role isn’t particularly big though but she is starting to get used to her powers a bit more. The tough part about being a copy expert is that you need to have someone on hand with powers to borrow but with the new buddy system that should help a whole lot. I look forward to her appearing as a full hero one of these days. She does need to learn to be a bit more honest with Tiger though. She lies to him on several occasions here. You know that he wouldn’t be on her side with some of her decisions which is why she lies but that’s not a good excuse. She has to face Tiger, not try to deceive him.

There’s also Mattia but that guy tends to be annoying. He doesn’t realize what is going on all around him at all and tends to be oblivious every step of the way. I was actually waiting for him to turn evil the whole series because of how shady he was. I also felt like he never added a whole lot to the series so I question a bit on why he was even added. I know the lab stuff tie in later on but you could have the heroes find out about it as opposed to having this guy as the go between. Agnes also shows up for hero TV but she definitely ended up putting on a lot of weight since the last season. At first I thought it was an animation thing where the character model was off at first but then things stayed that way so it’s an intentional change. I guess that the TV business is just way too stressful after a while but it will take a while to get used to her new design for sure.

Then for the final arc we have two main villains here. The first one is Gregory who has the ability to cause your powers to run wild through physical contact. Specifically he will usually lick the opponent which is certainly a gross way to pull this off. This guy can’t fight so he’s always hiding behind the ability because if he gets out there for even an instant then he would be crushed. It’s why it’s always annoying when he isn’t just taken down right away. He lasts a long while but in part because the government looks awful here the whole time. This guy whines quite a bit as well and so he’s a very weak villain in this series. I never ended up liking him.

Fortunately we had one more villain in Aldun who was way better. Basically this guy was a big villain back in the day but after he was caught, he rotted away in jail for so long that he actually thought he was a hero. So when he’s freed Gregory just pretends that the actual heroes are the villains and quickly convinces Aldun to take them down. Aldun is unfortunately very gullible and it takes him a long while to realize that he’s on the wrong side. By then he’s wide open for a cheap shot. I do like how overwhelmingly powerful he was though. The guy is sort of like an All Might type figure who requires a whole lot of fighters to even come close to him in power. The average fighter would be completely decimated against him.

Now I should note that it was an interesting angle to think that the NEXT were just being infected by a plague instead of a villain’s super ability. I thought that it was a reach for them to think this but fine. Where things got iffier is afterwards when the heroes find out there is a villain with the exact kind of power that seems to be affecting the heroes. Suddenly nobody wants to hear it and the heroes don’t have any real support. This should have been a huge deal and with how often the heroes have saved the day it would have been nice to see the public helping out or even random government guys stepping in.

Instead Ouroboros is so infested into every network that they bury the knowledge and quickly turn the heroes into public enemy number 1. Even the cops get in on it as they start prioritizing taking down the heroes over taking down the villains. That never makes sense in any show that I watch and so of course the same was true here. It’s just annoying to see the priorities completely backwards like this and so Tiger & Bunny are stopped on multiple occasions. Even the heroes are very lackluster in their responses when they should be out there trying to find the villain and taking names. They do to an extent but it always takes a lot of convincing and debating.

It also just worked too well to split up the heroes. Look, the NEXT were still being infected after the groups were split up so if it was a virus then isolating everyone wasn’t doing much good anyway. Naturally crime went up in the main city immediately so how were they going to handle that? The police were so antagonistic and they could never stop a villain before so that won’t help. Villains with powers aren’t going to peacefully leave either so all you’ve done is make the world a more dangerous place but the public readily accepted it. It reminds me of Magneto saying how the humans and mutants would never be fully integrated. All it takes is one bad thing to happen and everyone forgets all the good. That was the case here as well.

At least it wasn’t the whole planet though. Apparently only the main city went crazy as others were still having the heroes so Cat and Thomas were close to going to other cities. It makes you feel like the heroes wouldn’t even want to stay in the city after a while since it’s like they were pretty much being betrayed there. I’d be tempted to leave for good after stopping the villain myself.

The soundtrack is mainly lifted from season 1 with a few new tunes. It’s not the most impressive soundtrack. I’d say that it sounds okay but it could have used some more fast paced action tunes. This may not be a show with an overabundance of flashy action scenes and speed moments but some really solid music like that could still go a long way into helping it become that kind of show. Good music to listen to never hurts a title after all.

Tiger & Bunny 2 shows promises of what the show could be like and if everything was like the climax then this would be an easy 7 star show. It just needs to focus on the big plots and action scenes over the day to day stuff. Some shows can do day to day adventures really well but this one cannot. The opening team up episodes really show this. The characters just aren’t interesting enough to pull it off and as a result those episodes can almost come close to being boring at times. Perhaps really top line visual effects could bump this to the next level as well but that doesn’t happen here.

For season 3 to finally take the next step I’d say that we need a big plot right from the jump and more likable villains. Maybe have a replacement for Lunatic to challenge their sense of justice a bit more. We also don’t need much more bickering from the heroes as they should all be a good unit now. So instead build stories around that like in Justice League or Avengers where they’re a good team and have to stop some kind of challenge. Just making things fast paced with a good story is really all that you need.

Overall, Tiger & Bunny 2 really starts to pick up during the climaxes of each arc but getting there is always the rough part. The villain abilities tend to be cool but not the characters themselves which is another issue. Black and Thomas should really improve the dynamics and I expect to see more of that in effect by the third season. So if everything goes as I figure it can go then I expect the next season will be the best one yet. It would be nice if we could make some legitimate progress on the Ouroboros plot though beyond just taking out a few more members. It depends on if they actually want to have a conclusion to the plot but it would make sense to me. If you like superheroes then this is still a good title to check out but I would recommend watching My Hero Academia first as the definitive superhero anime.

Overall 6/10

Mob Psycho 100 III Review

It’s time for the end of Mob Psycho. It’s always a pretty big achievement when an anime completes a full adaption of something. No stopping in the middle, detours, or big breaks. This one just went straight through and now you can recommend it to anyone as a complete story. You just love to see a full success like this and season 3 ends on a great note. I would still say that season 2 is the best one and it’s really hard to top that teleporting fighter but this season continues to operate on a high level with excellent animation, music, and characters. So there’s a lot to like here from start to finish.

The show starts off with more of a casual episode to get you used to what’s going on. You see Mob and Reigen on a more standard adventure with exorcising. It works as a good revisit into the characters before we get to the really serious arc. A good chunk of the series is about The Divine Tree and it’s also the best part of the season so we start off strong right off the bat. Initially starting off as a small plant, this thing starts to grow and grow until it’s an absolutely massive tree that dwarfs everything in sight. It’s mind controlling everybody within the city as well, even those with psychic powers. Its reach continues to grow more and more to the point where it may be a threat to the planet. Mob isn’t too concerned initially but once it starts going at the friends then all bets are off.

I think part of what really worked for this arc is just how ominous it was the whole time. The music gets noticeably more serious during all of the episodes with the tree. The animation does a great job with the lighting to make everything look dark as well and so everyone is suspicious. Whenever someone talks to Mob you have to wonder if they are under mind control or if that is what they are really thinking. This was done really well with Reigen at one point where you just don’t know exactly which way to think. Of course if you are not too sure then leaning towards mind control is the best bet.

The best episode cliffhanger was the one when Mob decides to walk into the Tree so go and have a talk with the main villain. The whole time he sort of figures that it is probably Dimple but he just doesn’t want to believe it. They’ve been friends for so long and it just didn’t make sense to him which makes for a solid dynamic.

In a way the setup may have been too good though because there were a few parts of the arc’s resolution that I found to be a little disappointing. For starters my main issue was that Mob tried a little too hard to be diplomatic here. Lets keep in mind that pretty much the whole city is under control at this point so the villain’s gone very far. He’s turned Mob’s closest friends and family against him including his brother Ritsu and his friend Hanazawa. I was hoping we’d get to the point where Mob decides to just take him out with force.

We do get a big fight scene but not with Mob this time. Mob’s determined to just go in with peace. It is of course an interesting angle but I admit that in this case I didn’t want that. The setup was already so masterful with setting up the stage and how everything was so ominous. So you were ready for the big fight which would be extra personal if the leader really was Dimple as opposed to some random guy at the top of the tree.

The possibilities were all just really great. So yeah I wanted a little more than that. Hanazawa had an excellent intro in this arc though as he stormed in to take the villain down. I liked that he didn’t hesitate at all and just dashed in. A lot of times when someone notices a villain around you get some build up and then maybe in an episode or two he makes it, but here he just zoomed over immediately and got into a big fight. That was great.

The climax does have a big fight involving the tree though so I was glad about that. It did save the climax for me because that fight was spectacular. It also led to a really emotional way to end the arc. One character got himself into a rather sticky situation by holding back for so long though. If he hadn’t done that then the climax fight would have been a whole lot easier. Sometimes you can’t afford to be too nice or things definitely get a little tricky.

After that we get into the only weak part of the season. The kids decide to go on a field trip into space to meet some aliens. It’s an emotional story or at least that’s what they’re going for but it was just a bit boring if anything. This is more about character development but it’s focused on side characters that you don’t really care about. Tome is nice and all but she’s never been a huge character in the series and really just gets overshadowed the whole time.

The rest of the club just aren’t very likable. I guess the guy who has actual telepathy was a little better at least. Having actual psychic abilities is always a really big deal and sets him apart from the rest of the characters. I just would have made the aliens evil or something to spice things up. The arc may not have been as original if it did that but it could have been cooler. This one just feels like filler the whole time but without any really fun character moments or at least humor to get you through.

Fortunately after that we’re right back on track with the big climax to the series. Mob has decided to finally confess to Tsubomi because she is moving away and this is effectively his only chance. The tricky part is that the whole school wants to confess to her. He knew that she was a really popular girl but even he probably underestimated just how popular she was. There’s no way to break through the crowds of people and he doesn’t want to be forgotten so he calls her up to have an official meeting place. Now nothing will stop him from meeting up with her and confessing his feelings. Whether it be a tornado or the entire cast of the series going up against him, he will crush them all!

The final arc really lets you get to see pretty much the entire cast one last time so that was cool. There’s also a whole lot of fights here as everyone gives it their all so that was nice. This feels like a final arc in every way whether it be tying things to the beginning by having Tsubomi return or just having everyone basically give their goodbyes during combat. It’s a nice blend of emotional moments and big fights here even if you know that most of them just do not stand even a small chance at victory.

Now I do have a small issue at the trigger to the arc. Lets just say that it involves Mob getting hit by a car/truck and no matter how distracted he is, I don’t see this playing out the way that he did. Psychic abilities are always such a great barrier to have and when we’ve seen him getting thrown through cities and everything is just feels a bit weird to see something like this lay him out. Of course it was a fantastic cliffhanger to end an episode with and the sound of the lights changing worked really well.

The show does know how to land the emotional moments. As expected the animation here is definitely top tier. The fight at the end of the tree arc is the single best looking fight in the season and you can tell a ton of budget went into that. It’s almost like a big sci-fi Gundam fight with all of the lights shooting out everywhere. We also see some really great durability feats and you can feel the increasing amount of despair and dread as the enemies just won’t let up. The rest of the season also has consistently great visuals for the psychic abilities being thrown around.

The soundtrack doesn’t stand out as much as in season 2 but it’s still a well rounded blend of songs. The opening hasn’t grown on me yet but the ost within the episodes is good. The production values here were definitely on point.

As for the characters, Mob is a solid lead as always. He has definitely learned to voice his feelings a lot more than he used to be able to. He may not be talking up a storm like Reigen or anything like that but he’s not super quiet anymore. He’s even able to help talk other characters through their issues a bit which would have been unheard of back in the day. Perhaps he also needs to learn to draw a limit to when the time for talk is over a little more but it’s still a positive trend for him. His abilities are also still easily the strongest in the verse and it’s one of the reasons why the season isn’t trying to introduce a villain who is stronger at this point. It would be a little hard to buy at this point.

Then Reigen is a great character as always. He still loves to swindle people as much as possible for big money but he always gives Mob a fair shake. They have a great dynamic and he’s someone that Mob can trust when the chips are down. Reigen gets a big role as always and he is pivotal in the climax. He tends to be the comedic highlight of the show and he still is, but he really does well in the serious moments as well. It’s why he is just such a great character.

Hanazawa is also someone who has exceled throughout the series and it’s no different here. He’s the first one to go up against the tree and he also moves in quickly in the final arc. He may tend to be outmatched against some of these villains but he is always training and increasing his abilities. Apparently he made a huge jump in power since the last time we saw him and that’s really impressive. I would love to see a spinoff about him and what he was doing in the meantime. Ultimately he has become the ultimate defender of the planet and does his best to save everyone at all times. You have to respect that and he doesn’t have to worry about holding back or anything like that. He’s just around when you need him.

Ritsu also gets his moments to help out and be supportive here as well. He hasn’t really trained his psychic abilities as much since he mainly wants to lead a normal life but you figure as Mob’s brother he will always have a good amount of power at his disposal if he can unlock it. The anime handles this really cleverly when he appears with a bit of a subversion on what’s happening. That was probably Ritsu’s best moment in the entire series. So he ended on a good note.

Unfortunately I have to say that Dimple could not copy this. He actually went way down for me in this arc. Ultimately I thought he made the wrong decisions here and his reasoning for them was even worse. It’s just hard to overlook what he does here even if he has second thoughts later on. He is strong for sure and I was glad that he got a big role to wrap up his character arc but I have to say that it was a lot different than what I was expecting but not really in a good way. He does get some really good moments here but they just weren’t enough to fully redeem him.

Serizawa’s role here is really small and I’d say that’s due in part to just how the show is going about this. If this season was going all in on the action with some final big threats then I think his role would have been big since he is still rather powerful. Since it was more of an emotional journey though, there just wasn’t much room for him. It’s not like he has known the rest of the cast for very long so there weren’t any opportunities for big speeches and moments for him.

Tome at least got her big role for the 2 episode mini arc but that wasn’t really my favorite part of the series as you saw above so it’s a mixed thing. Tome also felt a little petty with making decisions for everyone by herself. By the end she’s okay but she always was overshadowed by other characters. Mezato gets even less to do here and really just makes an appearance to round up the cast. Goda is fun as always. I feel like the body improvement club gets a moment in every season where they come in to help.

They always get absolutely destroyed but they never give up regardless. That’s what I like about them and they are the best friends a guy could ask for. Tsubomi’s role isn’t all that big. In a sense you can say that the events are happening because of her so the role is big in that sense but her screen time isn’t massive. I still like her as a fun heroine though. She’s very unique with her portrayal and it works really well. She isn’t afraid to reject any suitor who comes her way and she has a whole lot of determination. She is the only one who doesn’t fall for the tree’s traps

This was also established in a previous season when she interrogated Reigen. Tsubomi makes up her own mind and doesn’t let anyone try and trick her. So Mob knows that she will give him a straight answer to his confession. Honesty is the best policy and she is cool with giving a very direct answer at any time. She also keeps her promises even when it’s tough like staying on her bench through a full tornado.

Suzuki gets to appear briefly here which was nice since he was one of the most powerful villains in season 2. He’s definitely still got a lot of power but of course he used all of his reserves in the last season so his abilities took a huge hit in this season. It explains why he doesn’t look quite as impressive here since there’s no way he could already regain 40 years so soon. His son Sho also gets to help out though and it’s nice to see them team up. Ultimately they can’t do much more than just delay the inevitable but every minute helps in this kind of thing.

Finally for the two big villains of the arc, the Divine Tree was actually a really good villain. He has a lot of presence throughout and incredible abilities. Against most opponents the Tree would just be way too much to stop. He’s incredibly impressive and his goal is simple but effective. I was impressed at least since I wouldn’t say that my expectations were super high initially.

Then you’ve got the final boss. I’ll call him “Dark” for now. Dark is an interesting figure and he’s powerful as well as good at the mind games. I thought the show handled his introduction well. I can see how he would effectively be born out of the circumstances because things were rough for him for a while there. From his point of view you also see why he wants to be free. Yeah he’s definitely a villain so you don’t lose sight of that but they do a good job of making him a sympathetic kind of villain. As the final boss he made a lot of sense even if again I would have liked some more action there.

The season definitely goes by really quickly. I suppose that’s what 12 episodes will do to you but it’s also because the writing is so good. Yes I would have liked some more action in here since with these powerful fighters you could really have a lot of great visuals. We even got a glimpse of this with the big Divine Tree fight after all. So don’t go in expecting a ton of action but the show still holds its own with the writing.

Overall, I’d be able to recommend Mob Psycho III to anyone. It’s a great show that completes Mob’s big character arc. He’s really grown up now and is a very changed person from how he started. At its core this series was always going to be about his development and it works well. With a solid supporting cast the show was always going to be a really solid one. Of course I’d be down with a big sequel series one of these days. Who knows, maybe that’s coming at some point.

Overall 8/10

San Andreas Review

It’s been a little while since I saw my last disaster film. Not too long since the previous one was Greenland but I suppose that would already be last year at this point. Haha, the “last year” jokes won’t be getting old anytime soon I can tell you that! This is a good movie though, it hits all of the notes that you would expect in a disaster film and you will be having fun all the time. It doesn’t stand out a ton and I will say that it is very much by the numbers but for a film like this it just works.

The movie starts with a few scientists figuring out that they can now detect Earthquakes before they happen. Unfortunately they find this out just as the Earthquake hits and it’s a doozy. What’s even worse is that this is just the start and the actual brunt of the Earthquake is just getting started. The entire state is going to be in real trouble now but what can they really do now that it is happening? If they survive then the world can be a safer place (Unless the heads up is only by a few minutes like in this film) but if they die and lose the data then we’re back to square one.

We then cut to our main hero Roy who is a fire helicopter rescuer. He pulls off another daring rescue just in time and proves why he is still one of the top guys on the job. He’s going through a rough divorce right now but he hasn’t signed the papers yet so he figures he has one more chance to wow his wife Emma by having a great vacation with her and his daughter Blake. Unfortunately he arrives there to see that she is moving in with a guy called Daniel and his hopes are dashed. It would usually be all over but the giant earthquake happens and now Emma and Blake are both scattered across the state and in trouble. Daniel ran off to save himself so if Roy can pull off the double rescue then he will have his family back again!

My main issue with the romance though is the fact that it still feels over. Emma was literally moving in with this guy. She moved on and chose someone else. Sure, a disaster gets them close again but now it feels like Dwayne is sort of a rebound who only made it back in because the other guy flubbed the wide open shot. If Daniel had done anything heroic like helping out or if the Earthquake hadn’t happened then that would be it. I’m always a bit dubious about a romance like that for this reason because it just doesn’t feel like genuine true love. Sure sometimes I may be a bit too sentimental about what “True Love” should be and all but this just isn’t it so the romance is rather weak.

The film also went the easy way out by making Daniel a bad guy. Having him die while trying to protect Blake would have been a lot more interesting because then you just can’t forget about him. It would probably make things too messy to salvage the romance real quick but that’s the point, it really should be. Otherwise Daniel is just another random antagonist to be defeated.

For this reason I wasn’t a big fan of Emma. Additionally I thought she was too passive as a random lady started talking smack about her dead daughter. Cmon I’m not saying Emma needed to punch her away from the table but at that point you just walk up and leave. No need for a phone excuse just tell the lady to back up and get out of there. Between that and the quick romance with Daniel it didn’t leave her in a good spot.

Blake was good though, she was by Roy’s side the whole time and acted fairly to everyone. She helped out a guy she barely even knew when he was going for an interview and just seems like a nice person. Blake also made the tough call of telling her friends to leave while she was buried in the car so that they all wouldn’t die. She never gives up and stays cool under pressure which are all tremendous talents that you can’t just learn at the drop of a hat. She pulled this off and it was very impressive.

Her new friends in Ben and Ollie weren’t quite as likable though. Ollie is generally annoying the whole time. He’s young but not young enough where he should be oblivious about everything and puts his older brother Ben in a lot of embarrassing situations. He’s supposed to be cute but I just found him to be unlikable. Any scene with him was usually annoying. Ben was better and he was heroic in trying to help Blake out. I just thought he was rather quick to go onto the romance train. That was another romance which was rushed. The reason I single Ben out is because he seemed to see Blake in a romantic light immediately while she started out as just helping someone out by doing the right thing. He came across as a bit desperate and based on Ollie’s dialogue it isn’t the first time that he has fallen for someone.

Meanwhile Roy is a good main character but there’s almost not a whole lot to say about him. He’s a good guy who is great at his job and can handle a disaster like this no problem. He’s a main character you can root for and all of his scenes are fun. You do feel like he could have made the opening scene a lot easier by going down himself with the ease in which is ripped the door off. Seemed more efficient than tying the bottom but maybe it was just that the other guy didn’t really do it right. Most of the characters here are rather heroic when you think about it like the other scientist giving his life to save a kid and all of these rescue workers putting their lives on the line to help people.

If not for the scene of people starting to loot the place and fire off guns it was a very inspiring film for humanity in general. For the most part it still is, but the film shows that there are still those who put their needs above the many. It’s a bit of a random scene but I did like how Roy stole the thief’s car. Thought that was a pretty fun moment to stick it to them and in general the movie is always moving fast so scenes like that with a mix of thriller elements and comedy tend to stick out.

The movie doesn’t spare any expense on the destruction scenes. Everything is breaking apart during the Earthquake and there’s a really good aerial shot where we see the buildings shatter. It’s just really great throughout and the movie never takes a break to breathe except for quick romance scenes that you can ignore. The pacing is on point and the writing is good here. San Andreas ends up being consistently solid because there are no glaring negatives. The writing is good and this is a very well balanced film that is accessible for anyone. Playing it safe and delivering a good experience like this is certainly a good tactic. It may not be remembered as one of the all time greats but you will remember it.

Overall, San Andreas is a pretty good movie. The disaster scenes are handled really well and Roy is a solid character. The movie has a serious tone throughout but is never really depressing. You always feel like the characters will make it out and the brief scenes of humor work well too. It’s what I would call a very by the books disaster film but only takes the best parts of the genre. As a result you’re in for a winning experience all the while. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a solid film to check out.

Overall 7/10

Phantom Seer Review

Phantom Seer is a manga that may have ended early but it certainly still got a whole lot of traction. You would recognize the cover art anywhere and it did get people talking. It succeeds well as a fun supernatural title and it’s a shame that it had to end so soon. The main cast was rather solid and in particular they did a good job of giving the main heroine abilities that were not just supportive but also physical powers to get there in the frontlines. It’s a well written title and I’d still recommend checking it out.

We kick things off with Riku, an ordinary schoolgirl except for the fact that she has a 6th sense for danger. If there is danger approaching then she will know about it in a vague spider-sense kind of way and will try to help people out. She really likes helping people and will actively go around to accomplish that while others would be more passive. She’s a big contrast to Iori, a mysterious guy who is said to be able to talk to spirits. He tends to just be by himself in a dark room and people rarely notice him. Their fates get intertwined as Riku nearly loses her life to an evil spirit.

Basically her 6th sense is a double edged sword as it attracts monsters and bad luck to those around her. Iori is sort of an exorcist by trade and his sister Yayoi orders him to help Riku out until she can either master her powers or they get the spirits away. The issue is that Iori just wants to be a normal guy. He doesn’t want to deal with any of this but he is rather intimidated by his sister so reluctantly he helps out. Additionally he isn’t quite as cold as he tries to make himself appear. That said, there is a reason why he is so aloof and wants to be normal. Iori is a bit of a living contradiction as well as there is one monster he wants to slay before he becomes completely normal so in a way he should still be practicing hard but doesn’t want to do that.

It’s a pretty solid pre arc as we slowly start to learn more about the characters. I’d say that once we learn more about Iori’s past and meet the monster is really when things start to go into high gear though. Additionally there’s a fire character we get towards the end of the series who is a blast. The manga’s strongest aspect is absolutely the character roster because they’re all fairly solid which is still hard to do. I would consider this to be a stronger cast than even some bigger Jump titles.

Riku has no hesitation in trying to be a good person. She does her best to help out everyone around her and when Riku learns that her own powers put people in danger then she works hard on surpassing that. She is constantly working to improve herself and even gets her own Shonen training arcs. Riku never takes a backseat here and just feels like a true Shonen lead the whole time. Her water presence/divination type abilities were also unique both visually and in how they work. Basically she can summon barriers that destroy anything they come into contact with along with basic healing abilities and blasts of holy water that can damage foes. The more the series goes the more she is able to master these abilities and use them in a whole variety of ways.

Phantom Seer actually sets up its own power system which may feel similar in some areas to Muhyo and Roji with the summoning but goes a step further since other characters have their own style of fighting. Maybe calling it a cross between that and FMA would be the best way to describe it. Iori can control shadows and turn them into solid weapons which is definitely really useful. He can also summon monsters but fighting up close is definitely his specialty. This makes for a lot of great visuals as you’d expect.

Iori starts out a bit rough with how he just really doesn’t want to help. If not for Yayoi forcing him a lot of the time he would really just take the easy way out and mind his business. Yes by the end he is definitely a lot more selfless and someone you can rely on, but how much of that is because of his revenge or true character development can be hard to see. If the series had gone on longer we could have seen more of him as a hero with his newfound goals. This is a series where the side characters tend to outshine him for sure but he’s still good.

Later on in the series we get another powerful ally in Tsumuji, but unfortunately she doesn’t get a ton to do before the series. She’s part monster so she has actual abilities and gives us a fairly solid mini arc in dealing with an evil counselor villain. It’s always rough being part monster since that opens you up to a few new weaknesses like being mind controlled and manipulated but ultimately she is someone you can count on when there is nobody at the controls. Perhaps she is more of a villain at the start since things almost got dicey for Riku but in general I tend to like Tsumuji’s character type.

She’s very outgoing and will just go for whatever she wants. No beating around the bush or hiding, she just goes for it. Meanwhile the villain was one of the more petty ones in Kanzaki though. He’s just your average creep who wants to wreck lives pretty much just for the fun of it. He doesn’t exactly have great aspirations beyond testing the limits of his chimera type creations and without any human shields he would go down really quick.

Before going back to the villains we also have Yayoi as an ally. In fact she is considered to be one of the strongest exorcists in history which is really impressive. Whenever characters talk about her it is always with a whole lot of due respect and reverence. I would have liked to have seen her fight a bit more though. I feel like the series was hinting that something may have happened which is reducing her powers or maybe she’s using a lot to seal something off screen but there was something off here. She is so powerful and yet she almost never aids the heroes in fighting. I’m sure she would have been the focus of a really great arc in the future.

Yojiro is an ally who basically lets the heroes know if monsters are near or quests to take. I like how he’s very chill about this though. He will just casually be walking into a villain’s lair with the group even though deep down he knows he’s not the most powerful fighter or anything like that. He’s just not scared and is content to live at a rather casual pace which is admirable. I like that he isn’t worried or anything like that. He doesn’t get as much to do as you’d expect considering how early he appears in the series but he’s fun to have around.

Kenma is more of the true rival of the series. He doesn’t like how Iori handles things (And you can’t really blame him) since the kid doesn’t want to work hard and never trains. Kenma does things by the book and you can bet that he has been training a whole lot. The whole thing has to be super annoying for him because no matter how hard he trains, he can never catch up to Iori in power. Sure, he can get strong on his own and has some really loyal tengu type creatures but he just has more limits. At the end of the day they’re still friends but Kenma just wants to push him farther.

Now for the best character in the series, Kurose. This guy is always cool, calm and collected. He can be a bit of a flirt but he’s not obnoxious about it the way most characters are. His flame abilities are cool and there’s even a full bonus chapter with him teaming up with Yayoi. You get the feeling that nobody else would be able to keep up like that. His powers are very impressive and he feels like a pro. The perfect guy to watch over the heroes while they are still learning the ropes. Without him they definitely would have been in some real trouble on quite a few occasions. I’m not surprised that he’s so high as fire characters tend to be great.

Senjudoji is the big master villain here. She’s ultimately the one behind the tragedy that really put Iori in a bad space mentally. She goes after all people who have a 6th sense ability like Riku. They are called Beckoning Hands and she even took down Iori’s old friend Yukizuki. So their fights are super personal to be sure but the frustrating thing for Iori is that she really is quite powerful. A simple rage boost would not be nearly enough to take her down. She’s just in a completely different league.

Maybe if he had been training….then he’d be in a better spot. It’s still my main complaint against his character because if you want to avenge your friend and fight the big fight then you have to train. I don’t care how powerful his strongest shadows are, they just won’t be enough against someone like this. There is a really great subversion towards the end of their fight as Iori is consumed with rage and getting wrecked which was handled really well. It makes Iori look better s a fighter at least because he thought things through with the twist but it doesn’t take away from the fact that he really should have trained. Senjudoji definitely makes for a very impressive villain though. She has a ton of tricks up her sleeve and is quite strategic. She hasn’t lasted this long for no reason after all.

Then we get the Dollmaster Amelia, or at least she assumes that role for a while. She’s one of those villains who is very quiet and distinguished the whole time. She acts very polite but all the while she is still as evil as can be. She’s also really powerful as it’s hard to hit her with all the strings and puppets in the way. I was definitely impressed with her combat style and how she goes about it. Then we have the true Dollmaster Reta who is more of a kid so she may no seem quite as imposing or intimidating but she can fight really well too. I mean in a way she is stronger as the true one so you have to take that into account.

We also got a new hero for this arc in Kondo. She’s a solid close quarters fighter. She probably debuted a little too late so there isn’t a whole lot of time for her to do much but she did well with the time that she had. I think she would have added a lot to the dynamic if she had just gotten to keep on appearing a little more. If the series ever returns she would be in a great spot there. Likewise Yukizuki doesn’t appear much but as a character who was dead prior to the series beginning that definitely makes sense. She seemed like a likable character though.

The series gets a whole lot of credit for the artwork. It’s really very impressive with a whole lot of memorable moments and it’s all super clear. I had a tough time even choosing which images to use for that reason. There are a lot that just pop out at you. I was also on the fence about the horror image because it is really intense but it does a good job of showing some of the horror visuals you can come across here. That scene was probably the darkest moment in the whole series. That character was basically forced to do the villain’s bidding since the villain was already inside her. It’s like she was dead but still alive and the more you think about it, the more disturbing it gets.

Phantom Seer isn’t afraid to get a little violent and dark like that as it goes on. I wouldn’t say it crosses the envelope but it’s not quite as light as the average Jump title. The villains definitely aren’t messing around here with how much they loathe the humans. It’s too bad that we didn’t get to see two members of the villain group fight though. We got a big splash page with all of them appearing but then the rest of the series only focused on the puppet master so there was no room for them. At least because of that the puppet master fight wasn’t rushed which is good so you could really enjoy that as a main arc.

Usually I talk about what I would have done to try and keep the series from being cancelled but it’s tough here because I can’t think of any real errors it made. The series had a very clear goal and developed all of the characters really well to get there. I wouldn’t really change anything. I guess for some minor stuff you could make the fire guy appear earlier, maybe make Iori a bit more heroic but they’re not the kinds of things that would help you avoid the series end axe. So it just got a bad shake and that happens sometimes.

The author does a good job of still making the ending feel like a real finale though. Sure there are definitely a lot of plot threads still going on but at least this big fight is done and the characters have learned a whole lot so that still works in that sense. It’s a satisfying journey all the way through with a lot of great action and story beats throughout. There may be a lot of titles with evil spirits and exorcism but I’d say that the series differentiated itself well enough. It also kept most of the characters at a fairly even power level which is always tricky to do. So a lot of characters would still be relevant for the next fights.

It’s also nice because then you can still have a lot of fun banter with all of the characters as they get to follow along to each adventure. Riku’s friend from school gets completely written out after chapter 1 but otherwise everyone else still sticks around. The series is very disciplined as it avoids any real fanservice and you can see that it’s a series that is confident that it can hold its own without relying on any cheap tricks like that. I’ve definitely got a lot of respect for a title like this. With the cast slowly growing more and more with new fighters it also felt like the author really wanted to expand the universe into something big which is the tragic part here. It was a slow burner just enough to know the characters well while being fast enough that something big happened in each chapter. I guess lasting to 30 chapters is still better than a lot of the cancelled manga nowadays though.

Overall, Phantom Seer is a really solid action/horror series to check out. It definitely becomes more action oriented as the series goes on but the artist never holds back with the big horror splash pages. Those always spook you as much as possible. It’s a fairly short read at around 30 chapters so you can definitely blast through this series and see what you think. Who knows with how things get revived from time to time maybe there will come a day where this one can make a comeback.

Overall 7/10